Ecosystem Services in South Africa

  • Catherine SutherlandEmail author
  • Bahle Mazeka
Part of the World Regional Geography Book Series book series (WRGBS)


South Africa is endowed with a rich biodiversity and a relatively high production of ecosystem services. However, these services are under threat, which has consequences for the transformation of South Africa to a more just, resilient and sustainable society, which is in part dependent on the ways in which ecosystem services are valued and managed. This chapter defines the concept of ecosystem services and presents different approaches that have been adopted in valuing ecosystem services in South Africa. Ecosystem services can be considered in terms of their value to social and environmental wellbeing, particularly in addressing poverty; their economic value; their benefits for climate change adaptation; their inclusion in planning and development; and their social construction, which in some cases, results in an ‘ethics of care’. However, the institutionalisation and implementation of the ecosystem services concept in policy and practice in South Africa remains challenging.


Ecological infrastructure Ecosystem services Ethics of care Natural capital Resources Socioecological relations 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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